The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has reminded residents of Greater Sydney to continue making insurance claims for damage to buildings or motor vehicles despite the lockdown.
Despite the lockdown, the state government announced that urgent repairs are allowed under the new Public Health Order. Insurers will cease all non-urgent home repairs until July 31.
According to the ICA, urgent repairs to buildings include:
- Emergency make-safes (these occur following damage and are necessary to ensure the property and residents are safe and secure);
- Necessary repairs to ensure a home is habitable (e.g., repairing a bathroom, kitchen, or hot water system if necessary for the resident to remain in the home);
- Necessary repairs that are required to mitigate the risk of further damage (i.e., completing a roof repair so the building is not exposed to significant additional damage from wind and rain); and
- Urgent repairs to damaged business premises if required to ensure the safety or security of the building (such as preventing the risk of theft or further significant damage).
“Accidents and damage will still occur during these lockdowns, so customers should not hesitate to contact their insurer if they are looking for assistance or to make a claim,” said ICA chief executive officer Andrew Hall.
“Insurers are working hard with suppliers to ensure we can continue important work on people's claims while also seeking to comply with these restrictions.”
ICA stated that insurers facilitating urgent building repairs may require assessors and engineers to attend sites, including determining whether urgent repairs are required. Insurance staff and contractors will use virtual inspections where possible and, if required on-site, will wear PPE and limit contact with residents.
In some circumstances, workers from outside the Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown, and Liverpool LGAs might be required to enter those areas to conduct urgent repairs. However, insurers will try to minimise these occurrences by utilising workers living within those LGAs wherever possible.
The ICA reminded insurers that motor vehicle repairs are allowed. Those living within the Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown, and Liverpool LGAs undertaking this work are authorised workers who can leave the LGAs to conduct this essential function. Residents in those LGAs are also allowed to leave their LGA for urgent repairs to their vehicle.
“While we play an essential function, we are extremely mindful of the intent of the government's Health Order and where possible will limit movement of staff and contractors both into and out of impacted LGAs and across Greater Sydney,” Hall said.
“Prior to these current restrictions, a shortage of trades and goods and state border closures, on top of a number of natural disasters such as the recent NSW floods, have been impacting insurance repairs and remediation times for customers. This two week period will only exacerbate those issues, so insurers ask for patience and understanding from the community as they work to repair property and vehicles.”
For hardship assistance during lockdowns, the ICA advised policyholders to contact their insurer, who will have in place a range of flexible support options.